What foods and drinks are recommended when I am feeling nauseous?

The best thing to eat and drink when you feel sick is different for everyone. The most important thing is to make sure you drink and eat enough.

Aim to drink 1.5-2 litres of fluid a day

Drinking too little can make nausea worse. Try to drink at least 1.5-2 litres per day (around 6-8 glasses). Water, sugar-free drinks, unsweetened tea and coffee, and low-fat milk all count. However, if you are dealing with unintended weight loss, it may be advised to drink full-sugar drinks, and whole milk. If you are struggling to drink enough it’s best to speak to your care team, doctor, or dietitian.

Eat small meals more often

Eating small meals more often during the day instead of larger meals can help. This can be a small portion of a regular meal but could also be a snack such as a cracker or a biscuit. This means that your stomach will not be empty which can help reduce nausea. Make sure you eat something bigger when you are feeling less nauseous. If your nausea is on-going and you’re finding it hard to eat enough to keep your weight up, you should speak to your doctor or dietitian.

It’s important not to force yourself to eat since it can put you off eating even more. Remove the food or drink off the table if you can’t eat it. It isn’t pleasant to look at food if you are feeling nauseous. Fresh air can help reduce food odours which may also help – try opening windows or eating outside if the weather allows.

A clean mouth can also help with nausea. Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth to remove any bad taste from your mouth.

Try to sit upright during and after a meal. It’s also best to not lie down immediately after meals and to not change your body position too quickly.

In addition, medicines often help against nausea. Talk to your doctor or oncology nurse for advice. However, these medicines will only help if used properly so you will need to follow your doctor’s instructions. Make sure you take any anti-sickness medication that may have been prescribed for you by your doctor or medical team.

Nausea and radiotherapy

Don’t eat or drink half an hour before irradiation or half an hour after. This can mean that you end up skipping a meal or a snack. Later in the day when your stomach is ready for food again, you can eat an extra meal or snack.

Nausea and chemotherapy

Don’t force yourself to eat and drink. Eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day.

Get more tips and advice for dealing with nausea

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